Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – May 25, 2018

 

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Annual health care costs for a typical American family of four climbs to $28,166

In 2018, the cost of health care for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is $28,166, according to the 2018 Milliman Medical Index (MMI). This is an increase of $1,222 from 2017 to 2018. Milliman noted that for more than 10 years now, the MMI has been increasing at an average of just over $100 per month.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers found to be accelerating adoption of benefits technology

Since 2012, investors have steered more than $14 billion into human capital management (HCM) software and platforms. A new study by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) confirms that human resources technology is top of mind for many employers seeking greater efficiencies and workforce engagement. The study reveals most employers have increased their spending on benefits-related technology in the past five years, with approximately 50 percent expecting further increases in the next three years. The latest set of findings come from The Fifth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM, Game-Changer: The Digitalization of Employee Benefits Delivery.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Insurer’s payment of reduced benefits not a fiduciary breach

An insurer did not breach any fiduciary duty it may have had under ERISA when it paid an insured’s widow $150,000 in life insurance benefits instead of the full $300,000 in coverage for which the insured had paid premiums, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held. The reduced benefits were the result of an error by the insured’s employer (the plan’s administrator), not the insurer. Contrary to the widow’s assertion, the insurer had no fiduciary duty to notify the insured that he had not satisfied the evidence of insurability requirement needed for supplemental benefits beyond the guaranteed amount. According to the plan documents, that task was solely the responsibility of the employer.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

HHS’ American Patients First broad effort to address high drug costs

The Trump Administration has released “American Patients First,” its blueprint for lowering U.S. prescription drug prices. The plan includes proposals to create incentives for decreasing prices and reducing consumer out-of-pocket costs. However, the report is noteworthy for what it does not contain—any mention of allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly or of allowing U.S. consumers to import drugs from other countries.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Majority of employers offer financial wellness programs

Eighty-three percent of employers now offer financial wellness programs, up from 20 percent two years ago, according to recent research from Prudential Workplace Solutions Group. The survey, Benefits and Beyond: Employer Perspectives on Financial Wellness, found that an additional 14 percent of employers plan to offer these programs in the next one to two years.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues 2019 HSA inflation adjustments

The IRS has released the 2019 inflation-adjusted amounts for health savings accounts (HSAs) under Code Sec. 223. For calendar year 2019, the annual limitation on deductions under Code Sec. 223(b)(2) for an individual with self-only coverage under a high-deductible plan is $3,500 ($7,000 for an individual with family coverage).

        (Read Intelliconnect) »